SIDS’ Futures Can’t Be Compromised

2021-11-12 Lia Nicholson, AOSIS Lead Climate Negotiator Download PDF

Topic: Climate

Statement on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) at the Informal Stocktaking Plenary by the President
12 November 2021

Excellencies and Colleagues,

AOSIS finds ourselves, in the final hours of this important Conference, overwhelmed at the work still left ahead of us.


As we approach the 11th hour of COP26, a well-balanced package that ensures the level of ambition required to deliver on the goals of the Paris Agreement, is still not within reach.

The call for phasing out “inefficient” fossil fuel subsidies is weak and does not meet the urgency of the moment. “Inefficient” has proven ineffective for the G-20, where fossil fuel subsidies are still steady despite such a proclamation years ago. AOSIS is not calling for an end to fossil fuels. We are simply calling to end subsidies in major economies for the source of three-quarters of emissions over the past decade. Subsidies which outstrip by orders of magnitude the amount of climate finance mobilised.

Now is the time for decisive action to preserve the integrity of the Paris Agreement.

We know where the political weight stands. Last week, we heard World Leaders support loss and damage financing, scaling up climate finance, and delivering mitigation in line with 1.5-degrees. Therefore, the Glasgow decisions must reflect these political mandates.

Yet, our request for a presentation of the NDC Synthesis Report to the CMA plenary was not heeded. We question the source of inertia in this process, when the world is moving forward.

Ministerial Consultations have been very useful to make headway on issues that faced technical roadblocks. AOSIS expects these political discussions, especially on finance, to be reflected in the Glasgow text.

The work programme on the global goal on adaptation is a welcome development. We encourage expert inputs into the workshops.

The doubling of adaptation finance by 2025 is too late; this date should be 2023.

On Finance

AOSIS needs to see clear delivery on a finance package for small island developing states in the texts taken together.

On access to finance, we tabled an invitation for climate finance providers to work together to harmonise their application procedures. This is a strategic approach to rationalise the level of effort to apply for and receive climate finance, and we understand this recommendation enjoys broad support.

Climate vulnerabilities must be reflected in access to finance. We welcome the innovative approach to consider Special Drawing Rights.

Loss and damage

G77 and China has tabled draft decision language for embarking on a process to operationalise financing for loss and damage through a Glasgow Facility.

While loss and damage conversations tend to turn into a who’s who of humanitarian aid, the climate science basis of loss and damage is different from other crises. This is about climate justice.

We are alarmed at the significant opposition to loss and damage financing. Loss and Damage has always been an integral and distinct component of the Convention and the Paris Agreement. Similar to adaptation and mitigation, loss and damage must be separated out in the transparency framework, and in the new collective finance goal.

We call on partners to work with the G77 and China and our regional groups to land a landmark proposal at this meeting.

The oceans are 70 percent of our planet, and we welcome the inclusion of the ocean-climate paragraphs.

On the Paris Agreement Work Programme

In Katowice, we agreed to detailed guidelines on the enhanced transparency framework.

Some among us are wasting precious time here in Glasgow attempting to re-negotiate what was already agreed. Let us call it out as stalling tactics.

It is absolutely fundamental that Article 6 moves beyond zero-sum offsetting to deliver global mitigation with every transaction. The system must consistently withdraw a percentage of emission reduction units so they cannot be used to offset any country’s NDC, but instead contribute net global emission reductions. Together with robust protections for human rights and the rights of indigenous peoples, this ‘cancellation account for the atmosphere’ is the key benchmark for the credibility and integrity of the Article 6 system.

Currently, the Article 6 text includes elements that have the potential to severely undermine ambition like creating a parallel market that would not be subject to corresponding adjustments and allowing significant carryover of projects and units from the clean development mechanism.To add insult to injury, the methodology and scale for delivery of an overall mitigation in global emissions are inadequate in this text.

AOSIS has been consistent in calling for a mandatory cancellation of Article 6.4 emissions reductions at issuance to ensure that the Article 6 system moves beyond zero-sum offsetting. A mandatory approach to cancellation needs to be our focus. Option B requires redrafting to reflect that OMGE is clearly delivered through a mandatory cancellation rate that can be operationalized as soon as we adopt Article 6 guidance and rules. As we continuously repeat, application of a low percentage does not work for us — which is why the text previously contained the range of rates it did from our side.

A voluntary option for cancellation is unacceptable to us and other groupings. We reject this voluntary option, which will not deliver an overall reduction in emissions, which is required in the Paris Agreement’s Article 6 (4) (d).

In the cover decision, we need to see the percentage level of cancellation included in the scope of the review to ensure a progressive increase in the rate for mandatory cancellation to deliver an OMGE.

The link between 6.2 and 6.4 is important. In the 6.2 text, paragraphs 36 and 37 require significant work and we will be preparing text.Interventions by civil society yesterday were a breath of fresh air: don’t carry over “junk” credits that won’t raise collective climate ambitions. It is a reminder of how our outcome here will be perceived by the world. We heard the clear call that we must step up our game.

SIDS cannot always be the ones who are asked to compromise in the interest of consensus. It is not just words we are conceding, it is our lives, livelihoods and our future. We will not leave Glasgow without seeing that our calls are addressed.

I thank you.

Sub Topic: Cross-cutting


Meeting: COP26